Professor Fundamental Informatics
Joost Kok is an expert in the field of processing and analysing data. He helps scientists to develop new treatments, aids the government in discovering potential fraudulent health insurance claims and advises the Ministry of Transport on monitoring the condition of bridges from a distance.
Medicine, psychology, music, sport, traffic, share trading: these are but some of the many fields that collect and analyse large quantities of data (numbers, text, images, graphics, audio and much more) in order to achieve their goals. Big data is everywhere. Joost Kok: ‘Take large supermarket chains, for example. They register countless factors in their stores: the temperature, when and how many people look happy, and so on.
Computers use this kind of data to calculate what a manager can change in the store in order to sell as much as possible.’ IBM estimates that 2.3 trillion gigabytes of data (business and private) are created worldwide each day. ‘Processing, analysing and making this data findable ̶ what is known as data science ̶ throws up all sorts of challenges,’ Kok explains.
‘To begin with, all the data you have collected can contain errors. What can you do about that? There are also limits to the capacity of the computers that need to store the data and make the calculations necessary to analyse it. The main thing is to ensure that the computer calculations are as smart as possible. What we do is battle the complexity of data and try to link different types of data, such as images and text.’